Only one life to live, and his ended sadly

A recent tragedy happened at the very same airport that I frequent. I cannot describe to you how incredibly sad the story is, the story of a 40-year old Polish man who took the first flight of his life to be in Canada and get reunited with his waiting mother.

The story is all over the news here in Canada. The Polish man is a new immigrant, and does not speak English. He arrived at the Vancouver International Airport and waited for at the baggage area for his mother, as instructed. For some reason they never found each other, and his mum returned to Kamloops, several hours drive away – possibly worried.

What happened was that the man was at the airport, waited for his mum and was hanging around the airport baggage claim area for 6 hours. Many who read the story were perplexed why wouldn’t any airport staff approach him and find a translator to communicate with him, but that’s another issue. After that many hours of waiting for your mother in a new country, not speaking any English and possibly very hungry and thirsty as well – anyone would be agitated. He was and he did throw some tantrums and the security and police were called.

The police came. They saw him, he was not even violent – just agitated I would say. The police were told by people at the airport that he does not speak English but they still did. He walked away and he was tasered. And the man died.

The mum, who by now has returned to Kamloops, were told by airport staff that they have located her son. She drove back to Vancouver and I can only imagine how relieved she must have felt and how excited she was to have her son in Canada. Instead of the warm embrace she was possibly looking forward to, the mother had a lifeless body to hold.

When this story first broke, the reactions were many. I followed the story closely and was waiting anxiously for the video of the incident to be released. The video was recorded by a passenger who was at the incident. When it was broadcasted last night, I cried alone in my living room. I saw the Polish man’s confused face and could not believe how rough the police was to a confused man.

This morning, DH and I talked abt the incident again. Then he told me that the mother could have flown the son direct from Poland to Kamloops, but wanted him to stop at Vancouver so that she can take him on the long drive from Vancouver to Kamloops. Why? Because she wanted him to see how beautiful Canada is. I cried. Again. And again.

There are many news report that affect me. Some are stories that I myself have to report as a journalist back then, and many of them remain vaguely in my memory.But this one, I think, is one I truly cannot forget.

I leave you with the video to make your own judgement.


  1. cceiqbut…how come the mom did not request for assistance to look for her son? the mom could also have given her cell # to the son just in case. thats what i do to my parents just in case they get lost at the airport.

  2. I think the mom did pester customs to go look for her son, alas we don’t know why they apparently didn’t bother.

    The cell# is a good idea — I don’t remember if there are payphones in the enclosed baggage area. So many other variables – maybe he also didn’t have a cellphone, no Canadian coins or even a credit card.

    The tragic thing is, he was walking around in a secure area for 10 hrs! Security must be really lax – a “Muslim-looking” person would have been picked up in 5 mins tops. As you know, we love all the attention!

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